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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Power Rankings: Too bad someone has to win ugly NFC West


Updated Dec. 21

It's like looking at a fat lady in a lineup of lingerie models or seeing some 10-year-old's clay-sculpture school project in a museum of great art works.

That's what the NFC West is to the rest of the divisions of the NFL.

It's an eyesore.

We warned you weeks ago that there was a possibility that the West could be won by a team with a losing record.

I was wrong.

Nobody is winning this division. It's more like surviving it.

It's a disaster.

The St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks are tied for the division lead at 6-8. They play each other in Seattle in two weeks in a game that should -- I say should because you never know with this mess -- decide the division title.

At 5-9, the San Francisco 49ers are alive, fresh off their 34-7 thumping by the San Diego Chargers last Thursday night.

Seattle is heading down the stretch with quarterback issues. Matt Hasselbeck has thrown 10 interceptions in the past four games, leading to a benching in Seattle's loss to the Falcons on Sunday. But he stays as the starter. Oh, boy.

The 49ers have also switched quarterbacks, from Alex Smith to Troy Smith back to Alex Smith, a move that didn't provide much against the Chargers.

St. Louis is the most stable of the three at the position, and they start a rookie in Sam Bradford, who didn't play well in a loss to Kansas City on Sunday.

Not one of the four NFC West teams is ranked in the top 20 of the CBS Sports.com Power Rankings. How could they be?

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The possibility of a team winning a division with a losing record has led to calls for a playoff format change. Give the division winners a spot, but re-seed the playoffs after that.

Can you imagine the uproar if 12-4 New Orleans has to go to Seattle to face the 7-9 Seahawks, a team they blew out earlier this season?

I know it's cyclical, and those divisions at the top now might be in the same situation as the NFC West someday, but it's still hard to grasp the idea of a team with a losing record hosting a playoff game.

What if that team got hot? What if that team made it to the Super Bowl?

The way these teams are playing, that's highly unlikely. But it is possible.

That would be the equivalent of the fat girl shedding 100 pounds in two weeks to show up the lingerie models.

In other words, you can forget it.

There is nothing that can make the NFC West winner get all dolled-up in time for the playoff ball.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

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